Friday, August 9, 2013


Do you remember twenty years ago when all this new technology started coming out - cell phones, personal computers, televisions with remote controls and without bunny ears - and everyone promised that as innovation improved, these items were only going to get smaller and cheaper?

What happened to that?

When I was growing up, we had a bag phone.  The battery was twice the size of today's smart phones, the handset was Zach Morris big, and you had to take the whole bag with you, plug it into your cigarette lighter, and stay in your car but it was mobile!  We had a mobile phone!  ...for a mere fraction of what today's phones costs.  They got smaller, but not at all cheaper.

Televisions cost  a pretty penny back then, even for the smaller models.  For what our old 25" set cost, you could get a larger one today.  Not the largest, of course - those things are monsters.  People are putting full-size theaters into their homes now, on a budget!  They got cheaper, but not really smaller.

And it seems the smaller the computer you're buying, the more expensive it is.  I'm not sure how that works.

It seems the promises of twenty years ago are a little muddled in the Twenty-First Century.

Unfortunately, so is the promise of God.  Jesus seems to be the only thing these days that is both smaller and cheaper.

How can Christ be cheaper? you ask.  Grace was always free.

Yes and no.  Grace has always been free, but the grace of God has also had power.  It's still free, but it's virtually powerless.  It's because we've taken away the mandate that grace changes you.  Instead of offering you grace as this beautiful gift in the hopes that it will strengthen, empower, and humble you in awe of the incredible mercy of God, we throw grace around like it's nothing, like it doesn't do anything but wipe your sins away.  This bothers me.

We tell people not to worry about what they do wrong, not to concern themselves with falling short because God's grace is there.  God's grace, we tell them, covers you and it doesn't much matter what you do as long as you keep asking for grace.  That severely cheapens grace.

Grace is supposed to change you.  It is supposed to transform you.  It is supposed to make you aware of your brokenness and repentant of your misdeeds.  It is supposed to bring you back to God in relationship, not a revolving door of asking for grace.  It's not supposed to excuse the things you do; it is supposed to redeem them.  Grace doesn't do that any more, not in the way we think of it.  Grace

And unfortunately, this very diminishment of grace also diminishes God.  It makes Him look smaller.  It makes Him just a tiny part of what you do, a small fraction of the way you live.  If His grace doesn't change you, His mercy doesn't define you.  If you aren't humbled by what God does in your life, then you don't look any smaller.  And if you don't look any smaller, God doesn't look so big.  If God doesn't look so big, how incredibly small He has become!

Consider the way the people in the Bible knew God.  They knew Him enough to run to Him in times of trouble.  They knew His character enough to pray to Him.  They trusted His strength enough to lean on Him.  They trusted His heart enough to rest in Him.  What about us?  We are a generation that knows Him enough to go to His church *most* Sunday mornings and kind of sort of think about Him every now and then.  In His story, He is everything to His people.  To us....don't you see how He is much less?

I used to look forward to the days when things were going to be smaller and cheaper.  Some days, I still do.  But if a smaller, cheaper promise leads to a smaller, cheaper God, that's not a deal I'm willing to make.  God takes my everything.  He deserves my everything.  Because I want Him to be my everything.

Which means I have to be smaller and let myself be changed and humbled by His grace.

Which has always been free.

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